Journey beyond the Moon1:53 pm
In 1848 the La Generale Watch Co was founded by Louis Brandt at La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. Louis Brandt assembled key-wound precision pocket watches from parts supplied by local craftsmen. The watches were sold mostly in England to customers from all over Europe. In 1894 after moving their base to Bienne, the company developed an advanced in-house production facility that allowed watch parts to be interchangeable. Watches manufactured with these techniques were sold under the Omega brand of La Generale Watch Co. The popularity and success of the brand led to the formation of its own company the Omega Watch Co in 1903. Over 150 years since its humble beginning, the brand has become the crown jewel of the Swatch Group, the world’s largest luxury watch manufacturer.
Omega is the last letter of the Greek alphabet, a symbol of success and perfection. Over 150 years of innovation the Omega brand continues its quest for precision and invention, firmly keeping its place among the top watch brands in the world. Omega has won several prestigious awards starting in 1900 with the Grand Prix at the Paris World Fair. In 1936 an Omega watch was awarded 97.8 points on the Kew-Teddington chronometer trials in England, setting a world precision record. Omega created the first small wrist chronograph, the world’s first certified marine chronometer wristwatch, and in more recent times the master chronometer – timepieces equipped with co-axial movements, water resistant to depths of 600m and resistant to magnetic forces of 15000 gauss.
The Omega Museum in Bienne
Omega watches known for precision and reliability, have always been the preferred choice of the armed forces. In 1917 Britain’s Royal Flying Corps made Omega watches standard equipment for their combat units. The American army adopted the same in 1918.
Since 1932 Omega has been the official timekeeper at 26 Olympic games bringing a series of timing innovations to sports, such as the first electronic timekeeping at the Helsinki games in 1952. Omega was awarded the Olympic Cross of Merit for exceptional contribution to sport in the same year.
Omega has also been an essential part of space exploration. Their precise and reliable performance in adverse conditions convinced NASA to make the Omega Speedmaster the official chronometer of the Apollo space missions since 1965. On 21st July 1969 Neil Armstrong made his giant leap for mankind on the moon and the Omega Speedmaster he wore became the first watch to be worn on the moon. Omega was awarded the Silver Snoopy Award for their role in ensuring the success of the Apollo Space missions in 1970.
Omega has been associated with James Bond movies since 1995, with the Omega Seamaster having made appearances in the iconic blockbusters including GoldenEye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World is Not Enough, Die Another Day, Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, and Skyfall. The world famous spy is seen sporting the special edition Omega Seamaster both on and off the screen. Over the years the brand has released several limited edition timepieces to celebrate this legendary association.
In 2015 the Solar Impulse project, which is the first plane to perpetually fly day and night without a drop of fuel, is a demonstration of achieving the impossible with the use of clean technologies and renewable energies. Here again Omega has contributed a number of technological innovations to help the Solar Impulse team achieve their goal to fly around the world.
Omega watches have had a loyal fan following for decades. Some of the famous fans were John F. Kennedy (former US President), Joe Biden (US Vice President), Mao Zedong (founding father of People’s Republic of China), Mikhail Gorbachev (former president of the Soviet Union), Elvis Presley (American icon), Tom Hanks (American actor), Jeremy Clarkson (former BBC presenter), Prince William (British Royal) and Gianni Agnelli (former head of FIAT), amongst others.
The brand has many celebrity endorsements and is proud to be associated with George Clooney (actor), Nicole Kidman (actor), Daniel Craig (actor), Pierce Brosnan (actor), Abhishek Bachan (actor), Cindy Crawford (fashion model), Greg Norman (golf pro), Michael Phelps (ace swimmer), and many more influential personalities across the globe.
The brand has several iconic collections that remain timeless in their form and function. Watch collectors have been keen to collect timepieces from all families of Omega, each for their individuality and workmanship.
The universal symbol of success amongst performers. The elegant yet sporty design of a case with curved claws, bezel engraved with Roman numerals, a golden star on the dial make these round shaped certified chronometer timepieces an object of desire.
For those who seek the thrill of adventure on the land and in the sea. This is a collection created to challenge the most adverse conditions and to capture moments of excitement and accomplishment. The precision, strength and resilience has earned the Seamaster a firm place on the wrists of sailors, divers, sportsmen and women, and the armed forces.
The first watch worn in outer space and a favourite of many Omega fans, the Speedmaster is also the preferred choice of racing professionals. A symbol of success amongst performance watch enthusiasts, the Omega Speedmaster is part of each watch connoisseurs collection.
Apart from precision and reliability, Omega watches have also been known for their design and beauty. The Omega DeVille collection has been acknowledged by lovers of art worldwide for its beautiful design and elegance.
By Pranav Karol
Features Writer, The Watch Guide
A watch enthusiast who is very passionate about performance watches. A keen observer of the horological world and its latest developments.